Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Day 1 in London [continued]

After leaving The Muffin Man tea shop with full tummies [see Sept. 18 post], we set out on foot to Kensington Palace which was just over a mile away.  I had already toured Kensington Palace twice on previous visits as well as having tea in the Orangery, so they weren't on this trip's itinerary, but I did want to see Princess Diana's statue in Kensington Gardens that was unveiled in 2021 by her sons.  It was a beautiful day for walking.

Londoners love their parks since many of them don't have yards of their own.

In the photo below we were approaching Kensington Palace where Royal Family members still reside.  It was Queen Victoria's birthplace and childhood home.  Princess Diana also occupied an apartment in the palace with her young sons after separating from Prince Charles [now king] until the time of her death.  And the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children still have access to Apartment 1A there.

The gates of Kensington Palace

Queen Victoria's Monument in her Coronation Robes that she unveiled in June 1893.

It seemed like we walked all 275 acres of Kensington Gardens in search of Princess Diana's statue, and never did find it.  We asked directions from several people who unintentionally sent us on wild goose chases.  We did find her Memorial Fountain though, which at the bottom is a lovely wading pool for children and was being enjoyed by many.  I was hoping to go back another day to find the statue but we ran out of time.

The Princess Diana Memorial Walk covers four of London's beautiful parks:  Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James's Park - a 7-mile long walk.

Pigeons and Ducks in Kensington Gardens 

After seeing Diana's Memorial Fountain we exited Kensington Gardens thinking we'd walk back to our hotel.  We passed Prince Albert's Memorial on the southern edge of Kensington Gardens and stopped for pictures.  Queen Victoria had the memorial built in memory of her husband which took 10 years to complete.  She opened it in 1872 and Prince Albert was ceremonially "seated" in 1876.

Directly across the street is the Royal Albert Concert Hall which Queen Victoria opened in 1871.  It was renovated 1996-2004 and has a seating capacity of 5,272.

There are 13 remaining historic 'cabbie shelters' in London out of 61 built between 1875 and 1914, and we passed one of them on Kensington Road on our walk.  They were established as a safe haven for cab drivers to provide warmth, food and a hot cup of tea.   Still functional, they are off limits to non-cabbies inside, but they do serve beverages to the public via side-hatches.

With no Internet connection to access Google Maps we concluded we didn't remember how to get back to our hotel and got a taxi.   It was a fun first day in London.

Next post Day 2 in London...


  1. Quite a day! I think that taxi was a good idea but you saw some interesting places on the way to it.


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